In Matthew 17 and 18, Jesus reveals the way stumbling blocks get in the way of God’s mission. Including our obsessions with rules and borders.

minding the boundaries more than the mission
Proper 18A  |  Matthew 18:15-20

Removing Our Stumbling Blocks

A few years ago, a celebrity pastor got in trouble. He was the darling of the new reformed movement for his high doctrine, aggressive style, and love of mixed martial arts. His books sold tons and his church in Seattle had grown to a multi-campus testament to the allure of spirituality amid the Nones. He was the epitome of a muscular Christianity many longed for.

The rumors of abuse were many and constant. And let’s be honest, not unexpected. I mean, the calling card of his faith is that his Jesus could beat up yours.

But abuse is pretty easy to ignore and the encouragement we give the abused is to just… move out. Find another place to live.

The pastor’s downfall came with the letter his board sent an employee they were breaking ties with. They weren’t just firing him, they were shunning him. They used Matthew 18 as their justification for kicking him out and ostracizing him.

The letter became public and corroborated. More people came forward, sharing their own experience of being shunned by this pastor’s church, and many like it. And in the end, the pastor left and the church closed soon after.

The full text and audio may be downloaded above or here.